Baltic Event Co-Production Market

The Elf

Original title
Belgium, Finland, Norway
drama, family film

An adventure film for children and families in the world of Elves, set in Lapland during Christmas time.


We arrive at the scene of a car crash. Flashing lights, ambulance, police, and a helicopter. 2 years later Lumi and Ivalo, 9-year-old twin sisters live in an orphanage in Lapland. Ivalo gets adopted and Lumi is left alone in the world. She escapes and ends up in the underground world of elves - a magical place where all Christmas presents for all the kids in the world are crafted. As she seeks to be reunited with her sister, she embarks on an exciting adventure through the world of elves.

More info about the project

Twin girls Lumi and Ivalo, 9, live in an orphanage in the middle of Lapland, far away from anything else. Their parents died in a car accident, and nowadays their lives revolve around each other, the orphanage, and secret adventures to nearby fells and forests. Sisters’ love for each other is more important than anything else and they are adamant about staying together. One day Ivalo gets adopted and Lumi is left behind. The following night Lumi escapes the orphanage and goes on a quest to find her sister. She starts a journey through the snowy fells and forests of Northern Lapland. She ends up in a magical underground factory, where all the Christmas presents for children around the world are crafted. The elves are very suspicious of the strange human that appeared from the roof. It is soon made very clear that there is no way out and that Lumi is forced to find her way in the new world. How can a small girl, in a strange world survive and find her sister again? It appears that there is no way to exit the Elf world. Everyone has their place, and a job to do – especially this close to Christmas. Luckily one of the elves, Pyry, seems to be less interested in rules and more interested in new adventures. Lumi’s company seems like a possibility for an exciting adventure. Together they find their way through the strange but ever so magical world of elves. Lumi’s only quest is to find her sister. She uses all her skills, old and new to navigate her way to the only group of elves that ever exit the factory - The Christmas Elves. Every Christmas Eve, the Christmas elves embark on a journey to deliver all the Christmas presents, prepared for all the children of the world. On Christmas Eve, Lumi leaves the factory with Santa and the other elves on a flying sledge to deliver the presents. At the end of the final adventure above the ground, she finally finds her sister, and her adoptive family and starts her new life in the ordinary world. The film can be read in two different ways: Lumi and Ivalo can be seen as real sisters, and this is how our young audience experiences the film. However, an interpretation can also be made, that Lumi and Ivalo are the same person, and Lumi's journey through the world of elves is not a real one, but happens in Ivalo's imagination. This imaginary adventure is her way of dealing with the trauma of losing her parents and getting adopted to a new home.

Director's note:
We have a strong desire to make a film that works for both children and adults. The Elf is a Christmas adventure about two siblings for children. It is a story of a child surviving from a trauma for adults. We set the film in the magical world of the Elves. The film is inspired by films such as Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle. These masterpieces deal with heavy themes, which open differently for viewers of different ages. At the heart of the film is the feeling of being alone, an outsider. Lumi is isolated in a completely new environment. She is forced to learn the customs and lifestyle of a new world. Her being the imaginary friend of Ivalo means that this adventure brings Ivalo back to life from the trauma of losing her parents. She learns to live with the past and start a new life in a loving new family. The Elf is a film about the power of imagination.

Producer's note:
Every producer has that one project that feels like the one that is going to change everything. For me, that project is The Elf, a film that will be produced in a completely different way than any of the films I have produced in past. For me, this film is more personal than any other film I have made. This is the film that will not only change me as a filmmaker but also turn a new page for my production company, which turns 20 next year. In addition to releasing the film, we are building an international impact campaign to go with it. The aim is to change the lives of over 100,000 children worldwide. This is the most important reason for making this film. The purpose of this film is to make the invisible visible – and the time to make this happen is today, not tomorrow. The film’s themes include loneliness, being an outsider, and how those things can change through imagination.

Director, Screenwiter
Hannes Vartiainen
Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Joonas Berghäll
Mathis Ståle Mathisen
Oktober Oy
Toolbox Film, Rein Film
Project Status
3500000 €
2389000 €
Looking for
sales agent, distributors, foreign broadcasters, public funds (national, regional, international), private funds/banks
Contact name
Joonas Berghäll
Contact email
Contact web
Hannes Vartiainen
Director, Screenwiter
Hannes Vartiainen

Hannes Vartiainen graduated as a fiction director in 2004 and has since worked in the film industry as a director, producer, and production manager. His previous films combine documentary, fiction, and animated narrative. The films have toured the world widely in prestigious festivals such as Venice, and have won several major awards both domestically and internationally. Combined, the nature films made for the Planetarium have attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers.

Puheenvuoro, 2017, The Secret World of Moths, 2015, Emergency Calls, 2012, Gates of Life, 2012,

Joonas Berghäll
Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Joonas Berghäll

Joonas Berghäll was born in Kemi, Finland, in 1977. He studied film production (2000 – 2005) at the Tampere University of Applied Sciences, School of Art and Media. He has been involved in filmmaking since 1998. Today he works as a writer, director, and producer in his own production company Oktober. His latest films as a director, The Red Ring (2021), Mother's Wish (2015), and Steam of Life (2010), have had a wide international success. Steam of Life was nominated for a European Film Award in 2010.

Je’vida, 2023, Ming tian ni shi fou yi ran ai wo, 2020, Killing Tony, 2020, Baby Jane, 2019,

Mathis Ståle Mathisen
Mathis Ståle Mathisen

From the Arctic town of Alta, co-founder of Rein Film - Berlinale Talents 2019 and Young Nordic Producers Cannes 2018. EAVE Producer 2020. Has co-produced two international feature films, a television drama, and has produced a feature film with Norway's Hollywood-based director Tommy Wirkola, plus documentaries and shorts. Also, a metal musician in the band Attan signed to Shelsmusic (US) and Fysisk Format (Norway).